More than 100 angry residents lashed out at police officials on Monday night about a spate of apparent anti-gay violence that cops are not doing enough to combat.
The crowd filled Public Assembly on N. Sixth Street Street in the wake of an attack against a 28-year-old man near the corner of Berry and N. 12th streets at around 5 am on Sunday.
The man was found bleeding from his head, and told detectives that he was beaten at 4 am after he left Metropolitan Bar, a gay tavern nearly 12 blocks away.
The incident is the latest of what community leaders say is about a half-dozen attacks on gays since February — though some of those incidents have not been formally classified as hate crimes.
That’s true of Sunday morning’s bashing — but the victim’s blamed police for not moving decisively.
“Every time I brought up that it might be a hate crime, they were dismissive,” said Chris Giarmo. “I’d love for someone to say, ‘We’re on it, we got your back. Don’t worry.’ ”
The crime is part of a disturbing trend.
In the last six months, there have been nearly half-a-dozen acts of violence and harassment against gay residents in North Brooklyn.
In March, a group of teenage marauders shouted anti-gay slurs at Barrie Shortell before smashing him into a wall on Wythe and N. Fourth and nearly killing him.
Then in June, a man threw a beer bottle at three women walking on Greenpoint Avenue, got out of his car and followed them into a bar, threatening to fight them in the street because they were gay.
A week later, a teenager threatened a gay couple with a bat on Bedford Avenue while he was trying to park his car.
And last Wednesday, a perp smacked a man across his face with an umbrella on N. Seventh and Havemeyer streets at 1 pm. Anti-gay expletives were hurled by the thug.
Community leaders say the “horrific trend of crimes” must be curtailed.
“Members of the [gay and lesbian] community have had beer bottles thrown at them and baseball bats waved at them,” said Greenpoint’s Democratic District Leader Lincoln Restler, who organized a speakout against the attacks. “We need to nip this in the bud.”
Police officers encouraged victims and witnesses to “come forward” regarding any bias incident that occurred. An officer with the 94th Precinct said that police were taking all attacks seriously.
“It is our goal to aggressively pursue any crime and that includes people who perpetrate hate crimes,” said 94th Precinct Capt. Stefan Komar.
One victim named Dave, who was beaten so badly he needed reconstructive plastic surgery on the left side of his face, credited the police for dilligently investigating the incident and classifying it as a hate crime.
He had also just left Metropolitan Bar last July 8 when thugs jumped him and pummeled his face, cursed at him, and stole his wallet.
“It shook me up bad — I was afraid, I still look over my shoulder,” he said. “But I love Brooklyn. I’m staying here. Nobody would ever change that.”
©2011 Community News Group
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